Brig. Gen. Jason E. Kelly, Fort Jackson commander, and Post Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier pay their final respects to Staff Sgt. Anthony Kay during a memorial service Oct. 14 in the Main Post Chapel. (Photo by Robert Timmons)

Remembering Staff Sgt. Kay

by Robert Timmons, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

“The best way to honor Staff Sgt. Timothy Kay is to tell his story and keep telling his story,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Burns, 4-39 commander.

Kay was well-loved by those who knew him and served with him.

Love shined the brightest with Kay, Burns said. “There was deep and unconditional love, the love of a husband, a son, a brother and a Soldier. It was there in so many different forms.”

Kay was born Nov. 12, 1994 in Paterson, New Jersey and joined the Army in June 2014 as an infantryman. He served in the 3rd Infantry Regiment, the Old Guard, and in the 4-39 as a drill sergeant where he loved to train.

“He wasn’t the loudest or the quietest (noncommissioned officer) … he didn’t showcase himself,” Burns said. “He didn’t try to hide, but by God he loves to train. He loves to give himself to make others better.”

“Love,” said Sgt. Mario Morales who served with Kay in the Old Guard. “That is how I would describe our friendship.”

Morales added Kay was a light and can’t thank him “enough for the example you left behind. You will forever be loved Kay.”

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Swank, who also served with Kay in the Old Guard, said, “Tim was the most disciplined and mission-focused soldier I have ever had the pleasure of serving with.”

“We were a part of 3rd Platoon firing party and rendered the final honors for over 600 Army veterans serving in wars ranging from World War II to the Global War on Terrorism,” Swank said. “In Garrison, he constantly pushed the entire squad to be their absolute best and set the example of what an infantryman should be.”

He added Kay always pushed himself and his peers, whether at morning PT, ceremonial uniform prep, or, as he would say, "getting gains" at the gym.

“During the unforgiving Virginia summer's heat, Kay's determination to be the best firing party in the regiment motivated us and, in the end, earned us the honor of being named the best firing party in the regiment, Swank said.

Those who knew him as a drill sergeant also remember him fondly.

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Duquette called Kay one of life’s “true rarities” who you work with so much but never grow tired of being around them.

“For those of you not knowing him that well,” Duquette said during the service. People would describe Kay as “dedicate, disciplined and altruistic.” No matter how bad things seemed, he continued to focus on his goals.

Tim tried to be a support to every friend he had, he added.

After his friends and colleagues spoke about him and a final roll call was called, Kay was given a ceremonial volley from a rifle squad, a trumpeter sounded Taps and a lone bagpipe called out a final dirge. Soldiers and Family members would pay their final respects at the Soldier’s Cross.

Duquette said, “It would be so infectious with his own motivation that being around him made people want to be better versions of themselves.”

Kay is survived by his wife Breanna, his mother Nancy, his father Harry and his sisters Melissa, Rebecca, Christina and Elizabeth.